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Fathers Conway, Haley and Harrington named senior priests

By Father Robert M. O'Grady
Posted: 8/12/2005

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Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley has announced that three pastors in the archdiocese will become senior priests of the archdiocese. Father Thomas Conway of St. Athanasius, Reading; and Father William Haley of St. Mary, Holliston will both become senior priests on the appointment of new pastors in their respective parishes. Father Richard Harrington of St. Mary, Randolph becomes a senior priest on Aug. 12.

Father Thomas Conway

A Medford native, Father Thomas Conway attended archdiocesan seminaries and Cardinal Cushing ordained him to the priesthood on Feb. 2, 1960 at Holy Cross Cathedral. First assigned to Immaculate Conception in Marlborough and then to St. John the Baptist in Haverhill, he served also as District Court chaplain for Northern Middlesex. He served for three years as an assistant director of the Archdiocesan Office for Religious Education and was in residence that time in Corpus Christi Parish, Newton.

He returned to parish ministry in 1976 as an associate at St. Patrick Parish, Lawrence and was also Juvenile Court Chaplain there.

Cardinal Medeiros named him pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Charlestown in July 1981 and in October 1985 pastor of St. Margaret Parish, Dorchester. From 1987 to 1994 he served also as coordinator of Prison Ministry for the archdiocese. He served as vicar of Vicariate II of the Central Region 1997-1997.

Cardinal Law named him pastor of St. Athanasius Parish in Reading in June 1997. The Reading parish situated in one of Boston’s developing suburbs is a very active one and composed of younger families and a wide variety of programs and parishioner involvement.

Father William J. Haley

Born in Hull and educated at archdiocesan seminaries, Father William J. Haley was ordained at Holy Cross Cathedral by Archbishop Cushing on Jan. 10, 1952. He was an assistant to St. Ambrose Parish in Boston’s Fields Corner area until 1957. He then was granted permission to enter the chaplain corps of the United States Air Force and served the women and men in Air Force Blue until 1971 when he returned to the archdiocese as an assistant at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Norwood.

Cardinal Medeiros named him as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Holliston on Sept. 16, 1975. During his tenure at St. Mary, both the town of Holliston and his parish have experienced rapid population growth. To meet the needs of the expanding parish the facilities were expanded following a capital campaign. But it was not just the physical plant that was expanded but also parishioners’ activities. Father Haley’s priestly example has served also for other priests. The parish has been served by a series of newly ordained priests of the archdiocese who have learned a great deal from Father Haley’s modeling of parish ministry.

While pastor he was able to enjoy a period of priestly renewal which he undertook at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Ever the gracious host, he has a love of cooking and his menu offerings were expanded greatly as a result of his “Roman experience.” His almost 30 years at the helm of the Holliston parish made him one of the longest serving pastors in the archdiocese, as well as a beloved father of the people in Holliston.

Father Richard Harrington

Born in Arlington and a son of St. Mary Parish in Waltham, Father Richard Harrington attended the parish boys’ high school and obtained the BSBA degree at Boston College before entering St. John Seminary. After seminary studies he was ordained at Holy Cross Cathedral on May 26, 1966.

Father Harrington’s first assignment was as an assistant at St. Bartholomew, Needham.

In October 1968 he was appointed assistant at St. Raphael, Medford where his pastor was Boston’s recently appointed auxiliary bishop, Daniel Cronin.

From that assignment he was called to the Office of Religious Education in May 1977 as an assistant director. During his service in this office he lived in residence at St. Eulalia Parish in Winchester.

Cardinal Medeiros named him Director of Youth Ministry of the archdiocese, an office for which Father Harrington was well suited having been especially involved with CYO and youth ministry in his parish assignments.

With the reorganization of the archdiocese at the beginning of Archbishop Law’s time as archbishop, a new office, Catholic Youth Apostolate, was created bringing together the various duties associated with the youth of the archdiocese under one director — the first of these was Father Harrington. He recognized early on that the concept of ministry to youth had to include more than just CYO athletic activities and needed to be expanded to include an emphasis on the spiritual, faith-lives, and social lives of young people as well. During this time his office was in Quincy and he lived in residence at St. Ann Rectory.

After a period of priestly renewal in the fall of 1992 at the sabbatical program offered at St. Patrick Seminary, Menlo Park, Calif., Cardinal Law named him pastor of St. Mary Parish in Randolph on Dec. 18, 1992.

On his retirement, which was granted because of serious health problems he has recently experienced, Father Harrington will live in residence at St. Francis of Assisi Rectory in Braintree.